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THE  DESERT GUARDIAN                    29
so in the colossal figures which were to be found within the courts of, and along the approaches to those temples one recognizes the same family strain.
The stone figures of men, which were found by Captain Cook on Easter Island, that lone, desolate, mountain-top remnant of a sunken continent, measured only twenty-seven feet in height, less than one-third of the Sphinx's height; yet they, too, possess an ancestry linked with that of Egypt.
The purpose of the Sphinx had now become a little plainer. The Egyptian Atlanteans had built it as their grandest statue, their sublimest figure of remembrance, and they had dedicated it to their Light-god, the Sun. And somewhere, too, they had built its temple, equally therefore their grandest, their sublimest temple.
The Sphinx was the revered emblem in stone of a race which looked upon Light as the nearest thing to God in tthis dense material woild. Light is the subtlest, most intangible of things which man can register by means of one of his five senses. It is the most ethereal kind of matter which he knows. It is the most ethereal element science can handle, and even the various kinds of invisible rays are but variants of light which vibrate beyond the power of our retinas to grasp. So in the Book of Genesis the first created element was Light, without which nothing else could be created. "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Deep/' wrote Egyptian-trained Moses. "And God said, Let there be Light: and there was Light." Not only that, it is also a perfect symbol of that heavenly light which dawns within the deep places of man's soul when he yields heart and mind to God; 'it is a magnificent memorial to that divine illumination which awaits him secretly even amid the blackest despairs Man, in turning instinctively to the face and presence of the sun, turns to the body of his Creator.
And from the sun, light is born: from the sun it comes streaming into our world. Without the sun we should remain perpetually in horrible darkness; crops would not grow: mankind would starve, die, and disappear from the face of this planet.
If this reverence for Light and for its agent, the sun, was the central tenet of Atlantean religion, so also was it the central tenet of early Egyptian religion. Ra, the sun-god, was first, the father and creator of all the other gods, the Maker of all things, the one, the self-born.